Whenever I am unsure about what to do— which is often— I try to think about our Baptismal Covenant. The last two questions always speak to me most:
Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
I love the Episcopal response to these questions. It’s not “I will” (because I am awesome). It’s “I will, with God’s help”, which translated to me means “I really want to, but I sort of suck sometimes and might need some help.”
Stewardship is the responsible management of the things under our care. If we act upon the premise that all that we have and all that we are belongs to God, everything we do seems to have even more value – and the “giving away” of our resources – gifts, time, and energy – becomes an act of faith, and not so much a chore.
The most important gifts currently under my care are my children. When my children observe Tim and me giving time and resources to people in need and also to ministries that help others, I hope they see a positive example of stewardship. I also hope that they will follow in that example – giving time and talent for the benefit of society and the kingdom of God.
The other resource under my care is money. We are incredibly fortunate that Christ Church Cathedral does not need our pledges in order to keep the doors open – to pay the electric or gas bill, to pay the salaries of our clergy and staff. So why should we pledge? For me this is a no-brainer and it comes back to our Baptismal Covenant. The pledges go directly to the Covenant Grants, which are prayerfully and carefully chosen by committed and loving lay-people in our own congregation. You and I chose these recipients, and they are those close to our hearts. I know from working with many of you that the heart of our congregation lies with those on the margins: those who are underserved or broken by their circumstances.
Here is why my family pledges: the money we give each month provides shelter for homeless families and sanctuary for women threatened with domestic abuse. It welcomes and provides for refugees, cares for the homeless, feeds the hungry and provides job training for those who are otherwise unemployable. My pledge, combined with the time and talent I choose to offer, is an attempt to answer those basic questions: Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? – and – Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? I will, with God’s help.